There are major economic development opportunities that provide a business case for advocating for the Hunter to be an early participant in Australia’s east coast high speed rail (HSR) network.

High speed rail’s contribution to economic development remains a topic of interest for governments, businesses and communities.  The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities is accepting submissions as part of two inter-related inquiries: 1) What is the role of Smart ICT in the design and planning of Infrastructure? There is a clear opportunity for Smart ICT to be applied to the task of corridor identification and preservation to ensure the HSR network has the required space in which to be built; 2) What is the role of transport connectivity in stimulating development and economic activity both in major urban areas and in regional Australia?

People are at the beginning, middle and end of economic development.  Every stage of the development of a HSR network delivers good prospects for jobs.  The Hunter has the skilled workforce necessary to take a lead role in all phases of the construction, manufacturing, maintenance and service delivery of the HSR network.

Travel on the east coast of Australia is forecast to grow at around 1.8 per cent per year over the next 20 years, increasing by approximately 60 per cent by 2035. The economic benefits from using HSR are greatest for businesses that face the costs of long distance travel. Experience shows HSR is a highly productive and energy efficient way to deliver workforce mobility.

HSR could also drive an increase in skills that will be essential for future employment. A green light for the HSR network would trigger a stream of STEM learning experiences for students and research projects in areas such as curve restrictions, braking performance, data processing, track condition assessment, noise management and passenger flow.

World-class transport infrastructure such as a high speed rail network requires vision, sustained political and financial commitment and smart planning.

•Mr Shohei Yoshida, GM of Central Japan Railway will present “The Impact of High Speed Rail – Japan’s Experience for over 50 years” on February 18.  For details, go to and click on News and Events.

View the Newcastle Herald story